LUKE: Two weeks ago, Nick and I launched our debut Babyfreeze EP – Forever Together.
I’ve already given an account of Babyfreeze’s circuitous journey up to this point, so I thought I’d wax specifically on my two compositions.
When I played Worked Up for our producer Paul Heslin, he laughed and commented that all my songs now seemed to be about sex. This was somewhat true of Cool Weapon’s oeuvre, but I’d never written this explicitly about the act itself. The lyrics are pure id, a catalogue of the feelings and desires generated simply by gazing at the object of my lust. Live, Nick delivers a preamble telling the audience that I actually wrote the song about him, which segues into an exhibition of our most suggestive dance moves.
The song’s odd arrangement – a stuttering, cavernous beat and a three-note bassline – sounds like a punk rocker’s first stab at drum’n’bass (which, ahem, it is). When we perform it, I dial the reverb up to cathedral levels, and the whole thing writhes and flails like a speared wildebeest, threatening to topple over at any second. Proof of this fragility revealed itself when we recorded it for the EP – our first stab was missing something, and the more we tried to fix it by tweaking the arrangement or adding elements, the further it slipped from us. A week before the release of the EP, Paul boldly suggested we scuttle the current version and re-record the basic tracks and vocals. It was the right call. The new version is what you hear on the EP – I can’t pinpoint why it now works, but it does. After its difficult birth, it’s been gratifying to hear so many people express their love for it.
Nick remembered On My Own from a demo I played him years ago and pushed for us to record it for this release. Musically, I was going for an LCD Soundsystem-style vamp. Lyrically, it’s a departure for me – I normally start with a strong title or opening line and branch out from there. I free-associated the lyrics for On My Own – the verses are flashes from a night out clubbing, and the chorus… well, even I don’t know how the chorus fits, it’s kind of the self-doubting yin in the midst of all the trash-talking yang (speaking of hubris, my favourite line is, ‘I get babes / Like you get beatings‘).
Tying the two tracks together is the incredible Matt Lustri, in his guise as Housemouse. Matt is one of Canberra’s most gifted musicians, a phenomenal (and versatile) guitarist who also happens to be a world-class emcee. His lyrical dexterity and serpentine flow is the first voice we hear on the EP, an arrangement choice we made after he dropped that verse. It was so fucking hot there was no place else to put it! He brings a different energy to the Babyfreeze universe and I would love to have him spit on everything we do.
Next up, Nick has a raft of video ideas which are going to push us past our limits. Stay tuned!
NICK: Paul H has been in the picture from the start, he produced the very first Babyfreeze demos. He’s not an invisible producer, to work with him is to stamp your record with his style and we chose him very deliberately on that basis. His cold post-industrial vibe wrestles nicely with the lurid sugary nature of the songs, and his approach to the mix really made the most out of our other sensational guest musicians.
Fossil Rabbit is my favorite guitarist on Earth, no poker face. I’ve played with him for years in Prom and he’s proven incapable of writing a part that I don’t love. He really sank his teeth into the dance-y brief and added a nice layer of tweaked-out paranoia. We approached Marc Robertson in the capacity of ‘Keyboard player’ but he quickly trashed that quaint notion and instead gave us goody bag of fucked-up sounds for Paul to paint with as he saw fit. Cathy Petocz is Canberra’s most consistently impressive artist of any kind and the Soulbot 9000 persona she busts out here is only a tiny hint of her skill and range as a singer.
Single Sex Couples is the first Babyfreeze song I wrote and I was kind of hoping it would be an anachronistic relic by now. The lyrics blow right past Gay Rights to a platform of Gay Superiority, posited in simple aesthetic terms and sung by a cringing-ly dorky straight character (not much of a stretch for me). Defenceless wasn’t an obvious choice for a Babyfreeze song but it’s become something of a showstopper live. It was written in a moment of very real romantic despair but in the context of a BFreeze set it’s become something more defiant. That said, I wanted the recorded version to be super-vunerable, hence me asking Paul to let my slightly pitch-y vocal ride with no effects. If that choice stops the song from being as as palatable as it otherwise could be then that’s very much in the Babyfreeze spirit.